The Broiler is dark, but the story heats up

The story so far: We learned on Tuesday that the venerable, old-school Broiler restaurant (which opened in 1950) and its “sister” bar-lounge, Gallagher’s Irish Pub, closed unceremoniously over the Labor Day weekend. The only “official” announcement is on the Broiler’s website, “The Broiler is closed,” the “sign” says, with no context.

We went downtown for a first-hand look inside the 1201 K Street building that houses the restaurant and bar and found both places locked and dark. We posted an item on the situation at this blog site, which became one of the most-viewed items of the day and generated big buzz on social media.

Yesterday and today, we tried repeatedly to reach Broiler owner Larry Lords to find out the unfortunate details of the closure, but he has not returned phone calls or e-mail messages.

We’ve also left voice-mail messages with John McKee, the vice president of property management for the 19-story office building. No response.

The plot took a twist earlier today, when an unexpected phone call from Sally Halder of Sacramento added more mystery and raised more questions.

“My ex-husband, Roger Hann, used to manage the Broiler for Larry years ago,” she began. “Our son (Alexander Hann) and (his fiancee, Rachel Merrill) are getting married Oct. 19, and we were looking for a wedding venue. (Roger Hann) ran into Larry, who said, ‘We get to use (a special room on the 15th floor of the 1201 K Street building) only six times a year, and we would love you guys to have (the wedding and reception) there.’ My son and his fiance went back and forth with (Lords). He was going to (supply) the room, do the linens for the tables, do the food — everything (for $5,000). They even set the menu and planned for an open bar (with a $1,200 limit).”

Then, on Tuesday, the bride-to-be received a phone call “from one of Larry’s part-time bartenders, I believe, who said, ‘We’re closed, so everything is off.’ We’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying to reach (Lords). It will be very interesting to hear his side of it. (One thing that) really irks me is they did a final walk-through just a week ago.”

What’s the new plan for the wedding and reception? “We don’t know what we’re going to do,” said an anxious-sounding Halder. “The good thing is, no money changed hands, (the deal was) all handshakes and emails. Larry said (something like), ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of the money (the night of). The bad thing is, we’re six weeks out and looking for someplace to have a wedding.”